Type of company
Number of dairy cows
‘Dung in the boxes, that’s not fresh’ is still a common remark when it comes to Bio-Bedding. With this remark in mind, we travelled from the far north to Kaasboerderij Verhoef in Nieuwerbrug aan de Rijn. ‘Dung in the boxes and the hygienic process of raw milk cheese making, would they go hand in hand?’
If you think of the archetype of farmland, you think of the area around Nieuwerbrug aan de Rijn (between Utrecht and Gouda). Nature, meadows, rivers, ditches, and one cattle farm after another. Today we visit the Verhoef family. Since February, they have been running a Keydollar Agri-XL manure separator on their dairy farm and cheese factory since February, which provides the dairy cattle with comfortable Bio-Bedding.
We are used to the fact that we are the first to be greeted by the loud barking of the guard dog when we drive into the yard. Shepherds, Rottweilers, Stabijs, and in the case of the Verhoef family: caliber Mastino Napoletano. The famous proverb; barking dogs don’t bite also applies here (fortunately).
Once settled in opposite farmer Johan with a cup of coffee, we immediately set off.
‘My name is Johan Verhoef and together with my wife and partner, we have 380 cattle on 135 hectares of land here. 40 years ago, my parents started producing raw milk cheese and we have continued this. We use 70-80% of our own milk to produce this. You can thus call this our core business. To increase cow comfort, we switched to deep litter boxes a year and a half ago. During that time, we brought many types of box litter to hand. Flax-lime, straw-water-lime, and pallet pellets. In terms of labor, this was heavy for both ourselves and the shovel, and as prices kept rising, we started looking for alternatives. So I came across your 90-day demo on Facebook and contacted you immediately. Klaas then came by and informed us about the 90-day demo. An honest and open story, it must be said.’
In the past, I have looked at separated manure, but I was never an advocate of this as we make raw milk cheese here and you used to learn at school that cows should never lie in their own dung. But yes, technology is also advancing all the time.’ adds Johan.
‘After two weeks my opinion changed. I was and still am amazed at how dry the product is and how quickly it dries even further in the box. You can see that the cow loves it because they are simply lying down more than before.’
‘We have also made progress in terms of work. It starts with the fact that you have enough of your own manure and that you are not dependent on others. You just have security.’ he adds firmly.
‘After the demo, we leased the manure separator, which might have been labeled as scary or difficult, but it isn’t at all. Of course, everyone has their own situation or opinion, but I can certainly recommend it to other farmers. It may be an investment, but the monthly savings have freed up space for an electric mixer that will be installed soon.’
Want to know more about the Verhoef family’s cheese farm? Then go to www.mijnboerenkaas.nl/our-boeren/verhoef-nieuwerbrug/
Do you also want a Keydollar manure separator? Call now +31 (0)514 593562.
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